“but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” (1 Pet. 3:15 ESV)
I have a strong desire to be a pastor again. I believe this desire is from God. I have this desire knowing full well that to have the opportunity to be a pastor again is going to require overcoming a mountain of obstacles.
First, I have not pastored a church in the last four years. My last pastorate was a disaster. The denomination I was serving in seemed to be very glad to get rid of me. Also, I do not interview well. I cannot sell myself. Second, I am sixty-seven years old in a culture that no long views age as being an asset. Churches want young pastors with families. I have a wonderful family, but I am not young. Third, a few years ago, in a pit of despair and pain, I took my own life. Not tried, but did kill myself. I shot myself in the head with a .45 caliber pistol. God performed a miracle. God sent me back. Most churches today would see this as a sign of instability, not a miracle, thus will avoid me like the plague. Fourth, with this act of despair, I damaged my voice, disfigured myself, and I must deal with chronic pain (which I am managing well). I still have a lot of energy, creativity, little if no brain damage, and I am overall healthy but I do look old. Fifth, I have no network, no social structure to help me get my foot in the door. Sixth, when I was younger, my being an activist for truth and integrity, I made a whole lot of enemies who do not forget. Lastly, my last name, Montoya, has its own baggage. The last church I served was horrified by my last name. When people first see me and find out I am not Hispanic, I usually get the question, “Montoya, what nationality is that.” This is sad, but a reality in our fallen world.
So why do I have any hope of again being a pastor again? I hope because I know my desire comes from the Holy Spirit. I know God will not manipulate a church to call me, but God will aid me in my quest. God will sustain me. I know God didn’t call Abraham or Moses until they were advanced in age and I likely have many more years to give in service. I know God has given me the gifts and graces to shepherd a church and guide people to experience growth in their relationship with God. I know God will not let me sink back into the despair I allowed myself to sink to in the past. I know where God guides, God provides, even if what God provides is only patience and hope.
Also, through this blog I know I am contributing to the Kingdom. I know my blog is read throughout the world. I know my sermons are being used. I know my posts on spiritual direction and discernment are useful to others.
Desire and hope fuel action and intent. Action and intent are what God desires from us. God has performed miracles in my life, and I have no doubt God will do so again. Even if I am not called by a church, just having the desire God gives is encouragement enough to sustain my hope.